Proposal Title

Peer assessment in small cell biology classes: a pilot case study

Session Type

Poster

Room

Atrium

Start Date

July 2015

Keywords

peer assessment; learning; student perceptions; cell biology

Primary Threads

Evaluation of Learning

Abstract

In some set-ups peer evaluation can be as good as instructor evaluation (Topping, 1998; Gielen et al, 2011). By assessing their peers, students develop additional academic skills and become more engaged in the class work. I developed two separate peer assessment exercises for 4th year journal club presentations and 3rd year poster projects (class sizes ~20 students per section, 3 sections in total). Students were provided with instructions and peer evaluation forms, which were required to be filled in and submitted by the end of each session. Only grades submitted by students were averaged and analyzed without any interference or correction by the instructor. I compared a student’s assessment of his/her peers with the peers’ assessment of the student. Preliminary results revealed that there was a negative correlation between the two scores for the 4th year journal club peer marks, i.e. senior cell biology students who received high evaluations by their peers tend to assign lower grades to their peers. However, this tendency was not observed in the case of the 3rd year poster presentations. One factor accounting for this difference might arise from an individual versus group assessments. The journal club presentations were performed by individual students based on independently selected research articles, while the posters were team projects of 3-4 students presenting results from the similar experiments in the teaching laboratory. Other important factors, which were different between the two tested groups included assessment criteria and quality training. In sum, my case studies suggest that peer evaluation exercises allow students to be engaged in learning process, and provide valuable insights for curriculum design and class work in cell biology courses.

Topping, K. (1998) Peer assessment between students in colleges and universities. Review of Educational Research, 68 (3), 249-276.

Gielen, S., Dochy, F., and Onghena, P. (2011) An inventory of peer assessment diversity. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 36 (2), 137-155.

Elements of Engagement

Discussion of the best peer evaluation methods in the undergraduate education.

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Jul 8th, 5:15 PM

Peer assessment in small cell biology classes: a pilot case study

Atrium

In some set-ups peer evaluation can be as good as instructor evaluation (Topping, 1998; Gielen et al, 2011). By assessing their peers, students develop additional academic skills and become more engaged in the class work. I developed two separate peer assessment exercises for 4th year journal club presentations and 3rd year poster projects (class sizes ~20 students per section, 3 sections in total). Students were provided with instructions and peer evaluation forms, which were required to be filled in and submitted by the end of each session. Only grades submitted by students were averaged and analyzed without any interference or correction by the instructor. I compared a student’s assessment of his/her peers with the peers’ assessment of the student. Preliminary results revealed that there was a negative correlation between the two scores for the 4th year journal club peer marks, i.e. senior cell biology students who received high evaluations by their peers tend to assign lower grades to their peers. However, this tendency was not observed in the case of the 3rd year poster presentations. One factor accounting for this difference might arise from an individual versus group assessments. The journal club presentations were performed by individual students based on independently selected research articles, while the posters were team projects of 3-4 students presenting results from the similar experiments in the teaching laboratory. Other important factors, which were different between the two tested groups included assessment criteria and quality training. In sum, my case studies suggest that peer evaluation exercises allow students to be engaged in learning process, and provide valuable insights for curriculum design and class work in cell biology courses.

Topping, K. (1998) Peer assessment between students in colleges and universities. Review of Educational Research, 68 (3), 249-276.

Gielen, S., Dochy, F., and Onghena, P. (2011) An inventory of peer assessment diversity. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 36 (2), 137-155.